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Clear Backpacks Mandatory for Parkland Students: Why the Solution Isn’t as Transparent

Following the tragic shooting on Feb. 14, 2018, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, Broward County officials have required all MSD students to only use clear backpacks at all times. According to the Sun-Sentinel,  said backpacks were donated by Walmart and the Broward Education Foundation. Along with this change, students and teachers must wear their identification badges at all times, there are less entrance and exit points and there are security officers stationed all around the high school campus.

While some might consider these actions a step in the right direction in regards to efforts of improvement for overall school safety, others, especially the students, have differing opinions. After the backpacks were enforced, the students of Stoneman Douglas took to Twitter to voice their opinions. Since the shooting, these students have become world famous for their activism on social media and their abilities to assemble and criticize and call for changes in the U.S. gun control policy. This led them to organize “March For Our Lives” on March 24, where hundreds of thousands of people around the globe marched and demonstrated for change. Many students adorned their new bags with pins and buttons advocating for gun control, like “#NeverAgain” or “Vote.” However, the most notable are the orange price tickets that read “$1.05” that were made famous during the March in Washington D.C. This number is calculated by taking the amount the National Rifle Association donated to Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio and dividing it by the number of students in Florida.

Courtesy: @SarahChadwickk

Sophomore Lauren Hoggs tweeted on Monday morning, “My new backpack is almost as transparent as the NRA’s agenda. I feel sooo safe now. As much as I appreciate the effort we as a country need to focus on the real issue instead of turning our schools into prisons. #clearbackpacks #MarchForOurLives.” Other students have commented how the clear backpacks were also an invasion of privacy, likening the new bag checks and security processes to TSA at the airport. Holden Kasky, a ninth-grader at the school, wrote a letter to Broward County Superintendent Robert Ruchie, asking to reconsider the backpack rule because it makes students uncomfortable, especially girls who may carry feminine hygiene products. In response to this, Cameron Kasky, Holden’s brother and one of the lead activists of the #NeverAgain movement, tweeted a picture of his own backpack, filled with tampons in solidarity for his female classmates with the caption #MSDStrong.

Courtesy: @cameron_kasky

While the new policies are an attempt for safety and security, it is evident that the solution is not easy nor obvious to come to. In result of the horrific February incident, unfortunately, the school has to go through a learning period where it will have to try to balance the comfort with the safety of all students and staff members. The district has stated that a series of adjustments to security changes will come to the school in the coming weeks.

Gaby is an FSU alumna who majored in Creative Writing and minored in Communications and Psychology. She also enjoys iced coffee, rose-scented candles, and short stories.
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